Veteran NFL defensive back Drayton Florence will officially retire as a player this Friday, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (via Twitter). According to Anderson, Florence will announce his retirement on the same day that he graduates from the University of North Florida.
Florence, a second-round pick back in 2003, played for the Chargers, Jaguars, Bills, Lions, and – most recently – the Panthers. In Carolina in 2013, the 34-year-old made 26 tackles, defended nine passes, and grabbed a pair of interceptions, ranking an impressive 19th among 110 qualified cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). However, after rejoining the Lions last year, he was cut by the team in August, and didn’t appear in an NFL game during the 2014 season.
Over the course of his 11-year NFL career, Florence appeared in a total of 157 games, starting 104 of them. He tallied 20 interceptions, 104 passes defended, six fumble recoveries, and 486 tackles. While he never appeared in a Pro Bowl or won a Super Bowl, Florence’s longevity as an NFL player speaks to his ability to provide solid production at the cornerback position for a number of different teams.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), Florence is graduating from the University of North Florida with a major in sports management and a minor in business, so it sound like he could remain involved in the NFL in some capacity during the next stage of his career.